By now you’ve probably heard some buzz about Pinterest. It’s the hot new social bookmarking site that some are predicting will be the next big driver of online retail sales. After asking for an invite and starting to explore Pinterest about 2 weeks ago, I must admit I’m hooked and can see huge growth potential. It is already growing exponentially, from 1.2 million users in August 2011, to more than 4 million by the end of 2011.
So what exactly is Pinterest? Essentially it’s an online pin board or scrapbook. It’s a way to organize and share images and videos you find on the Internet and group them in online boards that people can explore. This is great if you want to remember ideas for a redesign in your living room or if you want to keep track of possible holiday destinations for your summer escape. The possibilities of pin boards are limited only by your imagination.
To get started, you first need to ask for an invite from Pinterest or be invited by a friend. Once you get your invite you can either sign-up or sign-in by syncing through Facebook or Twitter. I chose to sync with my Facebook, which was helpful because it allowed me to automatically follow any Facebook friends I have on Pinterest as well.
Once you’re logged in, it’s time to create some boards and start pinning. Boards are the categories you will save your pinned images and videos on. I, so far, have travel, fashion, food and technology. Once you find something you like or are interested in you “pin” it. Actually pinning is fairly easy after you add the “pin” button to your web browser bookmarks. You just click the “pin it” button in your bookmarks and a screen pops up that shows all the images and videos on the page. You then choose the one you want to pin and write a description, then add it to a pin board you have created. These pins are then shared with your Pinterest followers, and the pins link directly back to the site where you found the original image. All of this can also be shared through Facebook and Twitter, making the site even more social.
My favorite part of Pinterest is the ability to easily browse what your friends have pinned and also to explore community wide pins based on topic. It’s an extremely visual interface and in many ways inspiring. I have already gotten tons of new recipe ideas from the site and am also building up a wish list of new fashion items to revamp my look for the Spring. Of course, now you can see why online retailers love this. If you pin a pair of sunglasses you like and your friend likes them as well, there is a good chance they will be directed back to the website of the store where they could order them.
It did take me a bit of time when I first started playing with Pinterest to get into it, but now it has become a regular part of my morning website review routine. Each day I see something new I like (or want), or get an idea for an event design, or that night’s dinner (I love the food category!). It’s certainly worth checking out and you might just become a little bit addicted too!